The NFL released its 2012 schedule last night. And I have to say that I'm pleased with the Pats' 2012 slate of games. The Pats opponents aren't particularly tough. They'll play 4 games against 2011 playoff teams. That's the absolute minimum. And they're home against 3 of those 4 playoff teams.
Here's the schedule:
Week 1: Sun 9/9 - @ Tennessee Titans - 1:00pm (CBS)
Week 2: Sun 9/16 - vs. Arizona Cardinals - 1:00pm (Fox)
Week 3: Sun 9/23 - @ Baltimore Ravens - 8:20pm (NBC)
Week 4: Sun 9/30 - @ Buffalo Bills - 1:00pm (CBS)
Week 5: Sun 10/7 - vs. Denver Broncos - 4:15pm (CBS)
Week 6: Sun 10/14 - @ Seattle Seahawks - 4:15pm (CBS)
Week 7: Sun 10/21 - vs. New York Jets - 4:15pm (CBS)
Week 8: Sun 10/28 - @ St. Louis Rams (London) - 1:00pm (CBS)
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Sun 11/11 - vs. Buffalo Bills - 1:00pm (CBS)
Week 11: Sun 11/18 - vs. Indianapolis Colts - 1:00pm (CBS)
Week 12: Thu 11/22 - @ New York Jets - 8:20pm (NBC)
Week 13: Sun 12/2 - @ Miami Dolphins - 1:00pm (CBS)
Week 14: Mon 12/10 - vs. Houston Texans - 8:30pm (ESPN)
Week 15: Sun 12/16 - vs. San Francisco 49ers - 8:20pm (NBC)
Week 16: Sun 12/23 - @ Jacksonville Jaguars - 1:00pm (CBS)
Week 17: Sun 12/30 - vs. Miami Dolphins - 1:00pm (CBS)
The more I look at the schedule, the happier I get. The Patriots were going to travel to Florida twice this season. And both times will be in the mildness December, not in the sweltering heat and humidity of September.
The Pats also host two warm weather teams in December: The Dolphins and Texans.
Five of the last 8 games are at home. Most of the AFC East games are in the second half of the schedule.
The only rough part of the Pats' schedule is their preseason schedule. It's just weird. They open up on August 9th at home against New Orleans. Then don't play again for 10 days. Then it's the Eagles on Monday August 20th, at Tampa Bay on Friday the 24th, then at the Giants on Wednesday the 29th. Three games in 10 days. Just weird.
But I'll take the odd preseason schedule in return for the favorable regular season schedule.